3 Tips to Help Your Patients Address Their Addiction

Do you treat patient with addiction issues? Many patients have a problem addressing their addiction, and treating them can often lead to confrontation or disconnect with the patient.

The question is, how do you help them without blatantly convincing them of something or forcing them?

The way you approach patients can define what type of therapist you will be, and how your patient responds to your course of treatment. Regardless if you have been practicing for 1 year or 30, hostile confrontations yield poor long-term results. Try these 3 ways to help your patients address their addiction when approaching the situation differently.


Help Your Patient Discuss

Usually, it’s hard for your patient to directly address their own addiction, so why not try to coax them to speak about problems associated with their drug or alcohol use? Using an approach such as this one can help your patients point out not only their own issues, but problems they’ve seen with it as well, inadvertently bringing up points for discussion.

You might try asking them how they feel about each of the issues they brought up or if they can relate. Developing discrepancy can also help distinguish their own behaviors to see if they’re similar or dissimilar from something they pointed out. This discrepancy can allow you to choose two statements or facts and point out the lack of similarity between them, thus focusing their attention on their own thoughts versus their actions.


Stay Neutral

The key thing to remember is not to try and convince the person in a way that interjects your opinion, pushes them beyond what they can handle, or argues. Don’t try to convince the person he or she is an alcoholic, and don’t argue either. Roll with the resistance and let them decide in their own time.


Emphasize Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility is extremely important in the addiction healing process, but doing so in a subtle way may yield better results. Patients may react bad regarding this particular issue, but in time this aspect becomes clear. Try to emphasize personal responsibility in the issue, without contradicting what was mentioned above.

This article was created based on content from the course Depressed, Borderline, or Bipolar? Accurate Diagnosis and Best Treatments taught by Jay Carter.

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